From a pioneering cybersecurity company with roots traceable to its then-14-year-old founder’s bedroom, to major global players rolling out multi-faceted training programmes for information security students and young professionals, the increasingly important contribution of millennials to cybersecurity and Internet of Things (IoT) is evident across every corner of the Gulf Information Security Exhibition and Conference (GISEC) and the Internet of Things Expo (IoTX) 2018.
Held under the banner of Future Technology Week, which runs until 3 May 2018 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the 2018 editions of GISEC and IoTX are supported by progressive top-level entities such as Dubai Electronic Security Center, Dubai Police and Smart Dubai.
Amid the expansive gathering of cybersecurity specialists, innovative coders and technology futurists, Future Technology Week is awash with some of the world’s brightest young tech minds. Many of those calling the shots in innovative, game-changing companies are forward-thinkers only a few years older than the average university graduate.
Take Malwarebytes. Prior to even attending university, Marcin Kleczynski had already founded what would grow into a leading advanced malware prevention and remediation solution recently ranked as ‘Visionary’ in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms.
The son of Polish immigrants the US, Kleczynski’s journey to Malwarebytes began aged just 14 when he infected his parents’ laptop with a virus from a pirated computer game. Kleczynski sought advice from online forums; a decision that would spawn the birth of Malwarebytes four years later.
Now 27, Marcin was recently named ‘CEO of the Year’ at the Global Excellence Awards and was selected for Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of ‘Rising Stars of Enterprise Technology’, as well as Silicon Valley Business Journal’s ‘40 Under 40’ award.
Malwarebytes reported annual revenues of USD100 million in 2017 and now employs 700 people globally – up from 165 in 2015. In alignment with Kleczynski’s original goal of creating a ‘community project’, Malwarebytes records 500,000 daily downloads of its completely free remediation tool, which combats basic threats to PCs.
“While it’s part of industry legend that Marcin started the company from his bedroom, a lesser known fact is the philanthropic element of the work Malwarebytes conducts in schools across the globe, which we are now starting to roll out in the UAE. For obvious reasons, it’s a subject close to Marcin’s heart,” said Anthony O’Mara, Vice President EMEA at Malwarebytes.
Elsewhere at GISEC, Infowatch, the leading global vendor of end-to-end enterprise cybersecurity solutions, revealed its UAE Education Center for Digital Technology & Cybersecurity is providing tailored training programmes on Artificial Intelligence, Information Security, Big Data, IoT, Data Science and Blockchain for students and qualified professionals. Thanks to a tie-up with Ajman Digital Government, UAE nationals in the Millennial age bracket represent a large proportion of the Center’s enrolees.
“InfoWatch Group is committed to cultivating a new cybersecurity generation that speaks the languages of business, data science, technology and security,” said Alena Tarletskaya, Director of Education Programmes for InfoWatch Group.
At IoTX, 21-year-old Pierre Barreau caused a stir on Day One with the unveiling of ‘Ode to Dubai’ – the first song to be fully composed by AI and dedicated to a city. ‘Ode to Dubai’ is a collaboration between Future Technology Week organisers and AIVA Technologies, a leading European AI music composition start-up.
With technology and code-savvy Millennials already commonplace in the global cybersecurity and IoT workplace, Ian Khan, a Canadian technology futurist, believes the power and influence of youth to shape workplaces of the future is only going to increase.
“Governments and private sector entities are only laying the foundations and creating the infrastructure for more technology-driven value to be created in the future,” said Khan, who is producing Blockchain City, the industry’s first feature-length film showcasing the development of Blockchain technology and the role global – including the Government of Dubai – policy makers are playing in implementing Blockchain technology into society.
“Take Blockchain: we are only at one per cent of exploring what can be done because this technology is going to define how the world functions. The workplace is changing, education systems are changing, jobs are changing – and it will be Millennials and post-Millennial generations who continue powering and evolving our world of tomorrow. The foundations we are laying are there for the next five generations to build on.”